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Newton ranked 2d wealthiest US urban area

Posted by Leslie Anderson  February 25, 2010 09:08 AM

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A study this week named Newton the second wealthiest urban center in America, outranked only by Newport Beach, Calif.

Cambridge and Boston ranked 21 and 70, respectively, in the study conducted by Portfolio.com and Bizjournals based on 2008 census data. Rounding out the top five were Pleasanton, Calif., Arlington, Va., and Santa Monica, Calif.

Newton’s per capita income was pegged at more than $56,000, while the median household earned more than $104,000, one of only seven communities nationally that exceeded $100,000.

“I believe Newton is a place where you can measure wealth in many different areas,” Mayor Setti Warren said of the study. “But we have many different people with different types of wealth and energy that contribute to Newton’s success.”


The survey data comes from the 2008 US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the latest federal data for local statistics. According to the data, 22.9 percent of Newton households make more than $200,000 per year.

The average home value in Newton was more than $696,000, while homes in the 75th percentile were valued at more than $940,000.

“We have people who are leaders of different types of industry, business, medicine, finance or otherwise that contribute to our community,” Warren said. “But in addition to those, we have people that don’t make as much money, that struggle, like many other citizens across the Commonwealth. We’re fortunate to have that diversity.”

The study ranked 420 cities, towns, and urban centers with populations exceeding 75,000. It determined the relative wealth of communities across the country by measuring six factors: per capita income, median household income, percentage of households earning more than $200,000 per year, median home value, the 80th percentile for household income, and the 75th percentile for home values.

A community that exceeded the national average received positive points, while those below received negative points. Newport Beach set the high mark with 22.759 points, while Reading, Penn., was the low point with -12.188. Newton’s score of 22.4 placed it just behind Newport Beach.

“It’s great that we have people willing to step up with so much talent and energy,” Warren said. “But whether it is the industry leaders or the people who struggle to pay bills, what’s important is that we have so many people willing to move Newton forward and make it the best it can be.”

The study ranked Somerville 83d and Quincy 104th, above the national average. Falling below the average were Lynn (219), Lowell (233), Brockton (253), Worcester (263), Fall River (286), New Bedford (309), and Springfield (385).

The original story from portfolio.com can be found here, while an interactive map of featured communities can be found here.

Jason Woods can be reached at jwoods@globe.com.

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